The Campus Police Department at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) for its sixth annual Seatbelts Are For Everyone (S.A.F.E.) campaign.
The campaign concludes August 1. This statewide initiative is designed to increase seatbelt usage and child passenger safety restraint usage through the implementation of occupant-protection programs, public events, and checkpoints throughout local communities across Tennessee.
“Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in Tennessee, and failure to buckle up is one of the major contributors to those fatalities,” said UTHSC Police Chief Anthony Berryhill. “I encourage my officers to enforce seatbelt usage and make drivers aware of seatbelt safety. As a team, we have collectively made seatbelt safety a priority in the Medical District.”
Last year, the UTHSC Campus Police Department issued eight child safety restraint citations, 16 citation warnings and 318 seatbelt citations.
“In 2017, Tennessee’s average seatbelt usage rate was 88.51 percent,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “Last year, the usage rate was 88.77 percent. Through increased education, enforcement, and community involvement, we’re striving to achieve 100 percent.”
This year, participating agencies will pay special attention to nighttime seatbelt enforcement. Tennessee has seen a disproportionate percentage of unrestrained fatalities between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. Historically, approximately 50 percent of Tennessee’s traffic fatalities are unbelted. That percentage increases to nearly 60 when nighttime crashes are examined.